Being it’s the last workday of 2017, I figured this would be a good time to number my days over the last year, and ponder where I’d like to go for next year.

“So, teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” – Moses from Psalm 90:12

Where I started

At the beginning of 2017, I started off out of work after leaving a situation where things just didn’t work out. As I started off, I dusted off the digital dust from my eBook version of Dan Miller’s “48 Days to the Work You Love” and begin the process of looking for full-time employment. I also tried to get back into freelance work. In January, I was fairly confident that I’d be in a better spot than I ended the previous year.

Directions and decisions

Then a few months went by and instead of my confidence blooming like the springtime flowers, it shriveled up like grass in the heat of summer under the blistering Sacramento sun.

I started questioning everything I was doing, and came to the conclusion that I was looking for work that paid well but wasn’t something I was particularly passionate about: web development. Sure, I could code and troubleshoot websites and do a good job of it, but I would rather being creating or designing content to go on a website than standing in Scrum meetings, performing unit tests and writing technical documentation about user interface specifics.

So about March or April, I decided to shift my search from web development to web design or graphic design. Soon I got hired as a graphic designer for a local media company where I was able to put my rusty journalism and creative skills back to use. If you know anything about journalism, it’s not the most lucrative field and the demand for fast production is high (i.e. you have 8 hours to complete 12 hours worth of work). But strangely enough, I enjoy it here and am looking forward everyday I make the long commute to Auburn. It also doesn’t hurt that one of my favorite coffee houses is across the street.

Working in high stress has given me ideas too: I have planned in my bucket list a book called “How designing newspapers made me a better web designer.”

Essential wellness

About the same time I started working again, my bride and I launched her business where she helps people with the use of essential oils. She’s always dreamed about helping people improve their wellness, and in 2017 we decided to start putting that dream into action. We were running full-speed ahead for a few months, but started to lose steam when we didn’t see the results we were expecting. Our expectations were already low, but we didn’t expect to host several no-show parties in a row. We used the products and knew they helped us and would help others, but we couldn’t understand nobody seemed interested.

Then we learned my sister-in-law had breast cancer and needed to undergo drastic surgery so we basically put the whole side business on hold. Discouraged and emotionally drained, we were on the verge of giving up.

This month was our last effort in the business, where we showed up at a craft fair and set up a booth showcasing essential oils in our first ever booth. We got zeros buyers, but for some reason, this apparent flop of an event convinced us that the business could work out if we just changed our approach to serving people. Also, we needed to make a business that was manageable and didn’t take up all of our spare time.

So one of my goals is to make every possible effort to get this business profitable, but in a way where it’s manageable and takes only 15 hours a week.

Where I hope to go in 2018

So two of the questions always on my mind are, “What am I going to do with my website?” and “When am I going to see an ROI on these things that I’m subscribing to?”

Regarding my website

Last year, I tried to write about designing websites. I even produced some awful videos. Problem was, I was writing about topics I didn’t care much about and I started to lose steam. I would rather be showing tips on how to create things using apps from Apple, Adobe or other software developers.

So for 2018, I’m going to write about how I’m using creative tools in our side business. Somewhat like a backstage pass to see what we’re doing. I might have a thing or two to say about business strategy, but I think it will mostly be about creating content, managing content and optimizing workflows for our side business in essential oils.

 

What I’m working on now

For this week, I’m working on the following:

  • Reading “Business Boutique” by Christy Wright. Finished chapter 4 today called “Why Matters” and answered the following questions:
    • Why does this (business) matter to you?
    • Why this specific business?
    • What excites you about it?
  • Organizing our current assets. Elizabeth made a series of weekly Facebook live videos in 2017 and I’m currently downloading them so I can watch them over and figure out ways to repurpose content using what she’s already created.
  • Preparing for January’s Facebook Live and monthly promotion: We’re hosting a essential oils 101 class on Facebook Live in January and plan to dive into Facebook advertising to try it out.
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